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Report: More than 90% of Michigan school districts underfunded

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A new reportsuggests Michigan needs to increase state education funding by $4.5 billion a year. According to the report, more than 90% of Michigan school districts are underfunded at some level.

“We found that districts with higher proportions of low-income students, as well as rural districts, tend to be the districts that are most likely to be under-resourced,” said Mary McKillip is a senior researcher with the Education Law Center.

Lakia Wilson-Lumpkins is the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. She spoke during the group's news conference announcing the report.

“We need new money or we are going to have to deal with layoffs of our staff and a continued lack of resources in our classrooms,” said Wilson-Lumpkins.

Supporters say the money is clearly needed. What’s less clear is where the money is coming from.

The chair of the state House School Aid and Education Appropriations Subcommittee said coming up with new money will likely require changing some of Michigan's laws.

Rep. Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park) said state lawmakers are moving in the direction of increasing state education funding.

“But...$4.5 billion is $4.5 billion that we do not have,” said Weiss.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.